Reports on the 14th ARDF World Championships

September 2008


After 2m event:

Today was of course the first day of real competition, but perhaps I’ve got ahead of myself. Maybe instead I’ll add a bit of suspense by leading up to it via what’s been happening yesterday as well, as at the time of writing I can’t see the results on the website yet.

Yesterday we all trooped onto the buses for the practice event.

Training map

It is a mix of mainly dark green (jungle) and what appealingly looks like open land (orange) till you check the legend which tells you it’s “cultivated land”: read mainly rice paddies. This one was largely a matter of sticking to the tracks and making a short excursion off the side right near a transmitter. I found 3 of the 2m ones without too much difficulty, but then my sniffer crashed. I hadn’t experienced this particular problem btraining.jpgefore, but later investigation by Bryan showed it was a combination of flattish batteries and a falling apart battery holder inside the sniffer. Well I guess it’s had a fair bit of use !


Easily fixed with new batteries and carefully placed bits of cardboard packing. At the time on the practice event I couldn’t un-crash it, so luckily I also had my 80m receiver with me, so I swapped over to that. Turns out 3 of the 5 were co-located anyway, so I ended up going to most locations anyway.

Bryan, on the other hand, was having terrible difficulties on 2m. Later on, after he’d given up in disgust and found at least some 80m transmitters, he discovered he’d assembled a “Geoff Special” beam (ie. backwards).

Bryan Training

The good thing was all these teething troubles ocurred at the practice event, so we could confidently go into the world champs event today with everything fixed (I carried a spare receiver today in my camel back anyway, just in case).

Flag Bearers

The opening ceremony was another bus ride to nearby Suwon University. They issued us with translation receivers (good idea…that should cut down the length of the speeches!) and another Aussie flag (on a pretty pole with a gold ball on the top). Then announced that each country should appoint two people to march/carry the flag. After extensive debate within the team we came to the conclusion that Bryan and I would volunteer for this role. With all the other Ark animals (2 by 2) we were ushered out of the main hall to spend what seemed hours but was probably only 30mins or so for some introductory drumming thing to finish (I’m not quite sure; we weren’t there!) and on we marched onto the stage.


Australia being of course 1st as this was to the English rather than Chinese alphabet. Noone had told us what we were meant to do, or whether we were meant to be staying on stage till everyone else came on, but it turns out they wanted us to march off again.


After all the countries (31?) had their go , it got down to the real entertainment, and I have to admit, unlike many other cermonies, it was actually pretty good. Sort of a mix of traditional Korean musicical instruments, but updated music, singling girls and the B-Boy breakdancers.


Speeches…well, all I can say is luckily we didn’t have to listen to then twice (Korean & English).


On out return we were ushered straight off the buses to the gardens where dinner was served in a garden party setting. Very pleasant in the cooler evening. We were invited over the the Croatian team table and had many discussions about ARDF participation, juniors development and garmin GPS’s. Seems they have managed to get some funding through their education department (it wasn’t easy) to run schools ARDF programs.


Sounds a bit like what Peta does, but more developed within each school itself (so it’s self sustaining to a degree; some schools even trying to get competitors into Region 1 junior champs). They don’t seem to have as much traditional foot orienteering development; perhaps they got in first. The next world champs are to be in Croatia in 2010.


Straight after dinner it was off to a Region 3 meeting to consider the bid from Thailand to run the 2009 Region 3 championships. it’s not official yet, but it looks like they could well be happening there in November next year, so keep that free ! We need a bigger them than just 2 of us.

Fall into bed after getting everything ready for the early start this morning. Lucky for the 1 hour time difference so for me the 5am start was more like 6am ! Even so sleep was slow coming last night, but spare a thought for the teams (eg Croatia) who have ended up with thin 1cm futons on the floor rather than beds. Luck of the draw it seems. I’m glad we arrived earlyish on arrival day.

Well, finally I’m up to the 2m VHF event today. As a mini spoiler I will point out we both finished in time with our required 4 controls (transmitters found). Doing M40 we had to miss transmitter number 5.

2m Start

The early start in the morning is because all competitors have to be bussed to the start. At a championships the location is meant to be a secret, unlike traditional orienteering events. Also, all the receivers have to be impounded at the start before the transmitters can be turned on. Due to some slight mixups in all this (I think we did it better back

2m Start
Grave Sites

in 2003) the actual first start was delayed 30mins to 9:30am. My start was 10:20 and Bryan’s 12:05pm.

It was pretty hot and very humid.

The M40 start corridor aimed directly at TX#5; the one we didn’t have to get at all. This caused most some confusion. In fact, the quickest way out was to run back through the Start, but we weren’t too sure if this was even allowed ! Very messy anyway.

2m Map

My route was to go to a slightly more distant #4 prior to the closer-to-the-start #3 so that I could use a main road at the edge to bypass a lot of nasty looking deep green across the middle of the very elongated map (a little bit longer than A4 long, but narrower). As it turns out, my gamble did work out, and though it may not have been the quickest route, it was easy navigation and running (for some of it). I’m not sure if I’d gone 3->4 if I’d have a better time or not; even drawing out my route later on the map it looked pretty good.

After bypassing a range of deep green in the middle, I cut in from the road to #2, which turned out to be on my side of the green range (phew!!).

The road was fast running, and the deep green was passable in places, especially on the ridges, but the rice paddies (orange) were often slow as the little pathways amongst them didn’t always take you where you wanted.CIMG2219.JPG

My time was 94mins and 52s, putting me in 14th place out of 46.

Bryan zipped out of the start faster than I did and took a different approach, aiming for the road on the far side of the map. He ended up doing the same control order as I did, but suspect considerably more km.(16 or more). Still, he’s happy he got the required 4, was back in time (just) and knew where he was on the map nearly all the time. His place was 24th, with time of 115 mins 47s, unofficial results at the finish.


Pity the poor competitor I was speaking to just after I finished who was overtime by a mere 5 seconds !

The time limit was 140 minutes.

Our 2m team result was 8th in the world.

Looking out the window looks like it’s going to be another garden party for dinner and presentations.

After 80m event:

OK, enough with the subtle suspense. The big news is Bryan not only came in the top 10 in the world, but at last sighting of the results he was 6th !

Well done Bryan (cheers, whistles etc.).

80m Start

Bruce didn’t do quite as well today, doing a transmitter out of order. I still made it in time though, so we will have a team result. My day showed how one little silly trivial problem can blow out to muck up your whole event in ARDF. It also maintained our normal tendency to each only do well in one of the two events, showing just how important it is to have 3 members in each team (to take the best 2 results of the 3). [In Japan we were lucky in that both Bryan and I did well in the same event. Unfortunately not so this time.]

80m sniffer

Now to backtrack a bit to fill you in on what’s been happening.

Thailand for the next region 3 is becoming more firm. The dates are likely to be Oct 29th -> Nov 3rd 2009. We need more people to go on this one !

Garden party dinners seem to be the norm now rather than the exception. Very pleasant outdoors in the evening. I think at least one of both of dinner and farewell party will be in the garden this evening.


Today was the hottest yet. It is currently 29Deg and that’s on the top floor of this hotel.

The event today was suitable billy goat territory, so it suited Bryan perfectly 🙂

I will try to put a photo of the map up soon, but it might be hard to decipher with all the various routes drawn on it, and part of the top section has gone missing.

Been catching up with lots of friends. Others may remember Kurt Smet and Maurice from Belgium, Jon from Norway, DavKa from Mongolia, Guilliame from France (without the rest of the family this time), Gyrui and Vadim from USA (or Hungary) and the rest of the US team (Gyrui placed 3rd on 2m), Mr Park from Korea, Mr Arisaka and Horishi from Japan, Alex and Nicolay from Kazaksthan and many others I’ll probably get in trouble for not mentioning.

King Grave

Tour day yesterday was pretty normal fare. We visited the Hwaseong Fortress (did we go there last time at Nonsan 1999 ?) and some tombs. One interesting thing we found was the strange perfect mounds we’ve been seeing on our courses (picture will be up) are in fact the graves. Often no tombstones. This helps as they are marked on the map as grave sites. Another visit on the tour day was to Samsung. This was interesting, but less thrilling than you might think because, being semiconductor fabs (ultra clean rooms, secret technology etc), they can’t actually *show* us anything, so it’s really just a touristy static display and a video. The more interesting bit was the technology update from one of their PR guys (an ex-pat American), but essentially, all of this could be done anywhere. The pure scale of the plants is very impressive though. It’s a mini city in it’s own right.

Tour Day
Tour Day
Tour Day

Here’s some more details of today’s 80m HF event for those that are interested:

The terrain was similar in many ways to 2m. The orange areas were again cultivated areas mainly rice paddies, but they had less impact than on the last map. The forested areas were largely dark green, but though un-runnable, it was nearly always navigable. Sticking mainly to tracks where possible was still important, but event that was tricky occasionally as sometimes they weren’t exactly as documented on the map, or simply didn’t go through to where you wanted. The hills were definitely steeper. This was certainly a tough event physically, and this seems to be traditional for 80m.

80m map

My small mistake at the start seems so trivial, but had ramifications. I cut the 52cm long map down to nearly fit in my map board, but a few cm still had to be folded around the back. In so doing, I barely noticed I cut off the only North arrow on the map. Whilst walking to the start line, I had a sudden panic I’d inserted the map upside down relative to my compass rose which overlays the map. I convinced myself that I’d done it upside down and pulled it out to right it. After ‘fixing’ that I tried to work out where the start corridor went on the map. After some confusion I worked out I really had had the map right originally, and I’d just stuffed it up. Now in a bit of a blind panic I whip out all the mappy parahenalia again, on the start line on the ground, and right the map again. I leave the extra bit hanging out the end instead of folding it over the top as I’m just about the start. Off we go….and dammit the start corridor and where it’s heading is right underneath my pencil holder velcro. Well I run the start corridor anyway, trying to get a bearing for #1 at the same time as trying to pull out my map. I’m all a bit flustered and things simply aren’t going well. Instead of trying to fix things carefully I followed competitors whilst trying to navigate on bits of map flapping out the end. Forget about drawing any bearings ! Well, I did get to 3 eventually, having to do a very steep uphill climb in the forest only to have to go down to the transmitter in a valley. Now I’m effectively running blind as I’ve now lost map contact completely, but I get a good time to the next ‘strongest’, #2. The problem is, I only have the vaguest idea where #1 and #4 are (M40 skip #5), so I decide to head in the general direction and figure it out on the way. Luckily a large open area lets me relocate myself on the map. Unfortunately, if I’d been a bit more accurate earlier on, I’d not have tackled a super tough hill up to #1 now, but after #4 instead. Alas, I ended up doing #1 not far from the finish, followed by #4 pretty close to the Start. As you can imagine, this is somewhat of a detour ! Still, I made it back in 120mins, which is OK considering running up mountains may not be my strong point and having to do it twice due to the #4 detour. Incidentally, I had to go back within 10m of #1 on my way back to the finish.

That gave me 23rd place or so, which indicates it was a pretty tough event for others too.

Bryan did a much better order, ducking in to get that tricky #4 after he’d been up to #3 from the start. He still had to do the mountain climb, but only once 🙂 His time of 83mins gave him 6th place, a fantastic result, just after Vadim from USA (Hungary).


Our 80m, team result was 6th in the world.

Karel Fuchik

A few extra notes:

  • In the 80m finish pic of me I had just passed the Czech Girl (whohad passed me earlier). No doubt her time was much better overall, but in true BK/Sledge fashion was determined to get a good finish split (57s, Bryan 52s)
  • Uli (brother of Wolfgang) from Germany may well attend our Lilydale Lake event next weekend.
  • Robert from UK knows Mike Dunbar. Mike may move back to Melbourne, perhaps.
  • We’ve been invited to a lake-based paddla-radiO in Holland, and the Czech 4 days Radio Orienteering, both July 2009
  • We sort of missed our transport this morning (due to a misread notice (5am not 6am), but all was well as we were able to catch an airport bus after a short taxi ride. The Mongolians seemed to have the time even more incorrect, but one was sighted at the airport so it seems they made it !
  • We liked the bottle of Aussie 2001 Red so ended up buying another, and testing it on the French (!), and they agreed it was actually pretty good.
  • Dinner and Farewell party were both in the garden, but it was good they were separated by the awards ceremony (so you could at least eat some dinner prior to all the gift swapping frenzy).
  • Talking to many competitors, it seems though we had some difficulties with the 80m course, others had an even tougher time. Almost all of the Americans were overtime, and many of those we know didn’t get their full set of transmitters. Our Croatian M40 friend twisted his ankle.
  • Bryan would like to inform you that one of his thumbs is now nearly double sized due to reaction to a suspected spider bite on the 80m event.